Thursday 6 January 2011


The HMV group news was a lot worse than expected and has sent the shares tumbling. FT Alphaville have all the numbers and the likely implications. 60+ stores to be axed represents about 10% of their UK HMV and Waterstones branches.
That's necessary as rents/wages vs income is a major factor in deciding the entire groups chances of survival.

Its a real shame. BQ had them pegged for real woes in the crunch , right after Blacks, JJB and Woolworths in likelihood of collapse.

In fact the demise of Woolies, Zavvi and Borders gave extra custom to HMV and helped them to survive 2008/9. Then, in my humble opinion, the HMV stores revamped their layouts, offerings and emphasis in a very positive way.

Student wear is probably the way best to describe their limited clothing offer, but its a good mark up product that fits their image. T/shirts and tops with rock bands, off the wall images and slogans. The proposal to produce their own brand clothing is a sound one too. The move to on-line music and integrated social networking, the revamped loyalty card, the cinema tie-ins and in-store concerts are all good, solid ideas that really showed a company with an inherent structural core product decline facing up to the download and supermarket age.
The refocusing and prioritising on their weak video games sales also paid off and 2009 was a good year. 18% up. But shares have slumped 80% since April 09..

So its a shame it hasn't lasted. Its hard to see what more they could do from an operations perspective. The shops are well maintained, stocked, adequately staffed and have plenty of offers. But now its over to finance. Rents and rates and wages. Splitting the book chains from the entertainment?..maybe merging the two formats like the Borders stores did? .. There may still be hope. They saw off OUR PRICE after all.


Anonymous said...

A limited viewpoint I know (I mean only mine), but I personally find them pricey. Even in sale offers their DVD's and CD's tend to be more expensive than say online suppliers (e.g., Amazon) and even supermarkets (Asda, Tesco).

Bill Quango MP said...

That is true. Trouble is for a high street chain they are paying through the nose for rents and rates and have to pay extra service charges, etc. If you're online on a trading estate costs are minimal.
Supermarkets own their land, pay rents to themselves, have free parking and out of town level rates and unlimited buying power.

Bill Quango MP said...

..Amazon are based mainly in North Wales and North East Scotland...
Costs are minimal.

measured said...

HMV don't sell posters. Well, hardly anyone sells posters on the High Street. This, in my view, is a real oversight as the population spends less money and spends more time at home, and I am not a retail guru.

Now who could be my pin up*, BQ? ::[ponders]::

*not Mrs Q readying your brekkie, although she looked very alluring. :-)

Nick Drew said...

what the hell is that 78 in the pic, Mr Q ?

you'll be getting this blog a new clientele ...

Bill Quango MP said...

I remember Granddaddy Quango, who was a noted and famous musical conductor in the 1930s, complaining about the switch to 33rpm.

'Mr William Quango and the Starlight Light Orchestra' would never have gone digital.

Bill Quango MP said...

If you've ever seen Game On, with the now newsworthy Samantha Janus, well, the posters in their flat were identical to the ones in mine. Someone pointed this out, so I changed them all.
Series 2 of Game On had new posters. Snap! Same as mine again.

Then Mrs Q came along and now we have proper prints or artworks and clip frames and blu-tac'd posters are banned..

Except in my 'study' where a 'Magnificent Seven' poster still remains.
The tennis girl seems to have gone though.

All men live in their wife's house.

Dick the Prick said...

Vaguely off topic but my chum told me about MyP2P website the other day which live streams all sports stuff (the Ashes at the mo) so i'm slightly inclined to think that technology is moving faster than fixed assets can cope with.

Bill Quango MP said...

DP: I've been on Spotify for about 2 years and haven't bought any music since. nearly everything I want is on there, free.

Mrs Q is still an I-tunes girl though.
Neither of us has bought a CD in about 5 years.

measured said...

Do you mean the house doesn't belong to mr m? He thinks he lives in five star hotel where the service isn't quite up to scratch. :-)

I once went to a friend's house and she owned identical books, like Peter Wright's Spycatcher. What was the fuss over that all about? We are victims of our age.

Off topic, at a sale today I saw dealers buy gold fob watches to scrap them for the metal. Who would have thought? It made me sentimental, but doesn't this exemplify the efficient use of a resource? The people of that bygone age would be turning in their graves if they knew.

It has not gone unnoticed that you, Sir, are a politician. You didn't answer the question. However, it was an eloquent response.

Bill Quango MP said...

Measured. Athena is still the place for posters, but they seem to stock much less titles than they did.
Posters would be another good addition for HMV. Rock bans and video game and movie posters. Especially in a decent frame, to give as a gift.

Online posters too, should be a winner. I used to think I would reproduce the Butch and Sundance ending frame, but change the faces to photos of the buyer and their friends.
Same with the man with no name, Abbey road, Sgt Peppers, Andy Warhol, Home alone, Reservoir dogs, Definitely Maybe etc.
Then ,ail out the poster.
I bet its dead easy to do now.

And I bet its already been done too!

Do teenagers still have posters? There's no artwork on a download.

Bill Quango MP said...

Gold fobs melted down. That's just a scandal. In the future that will seem as barbaric as the Colosseum's stone being taken away to build houses, or the monks knocking a door through the bottom of the last supper fresco.

As for Spycatcher, I didn't know the fuss then, and I don't now. I do know it sold a lot of copies that were never read.
Like 'a brief history of time' and "The Crash"

measured said...

:-) My copy of Spycatcher has never been read either. I understand the posters of Nick Clegg aren't selling well. Sales of Gideon are going to decline too. Hrmm... decisions, decisions.

So highly indebted, HMV is yet another Woolies. Takeover targets should be tipped this year, but HMV is not for me.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I did read Spycatcher. At the end I couldn't see what the fuss was about. MI5 entered houses & placed bugs... hmm. Isn't that what they are for?

James Higham said...

We have one near us and though they're trading, the overheads are exorbitant. Not good.

Laban said...

South Wales, Bill. Massive Amazon distribution centre at Jersey Marine near Swansea, next door to where Ford used to make transmissions.

The story of Britain in two buildings (Ford spun off the plant as 'Visteon' who then went bust when main customer (Ford?) sourced elsewhere, workers lost their pensions which had transferred across).

I found HMV prices pretty competitive with Amazon this Christmas, and Waterstones matched them for books, so I used them. Delivery not as quick, but I'm starting to feel about Amazon the way I feel about Google - too much of the market to be healthy.

Bill Quango MP said...

Just come back from HMV.
Bought Downton Abbey - £20.
Busy enough, well stocked, plenty of replenishers and checkout staff.
Music a decent volume. No security guard. They might have been axed, or contract for problem stores, limited term.
Still think its a shame. If you look at what HMV are trying they are on the right track. but have they left it too late?

Laban. South Wales, ISC.
I believe the big Scottish depot is in Gordon Brown's constituency.

JH: Bloody business rates increases are pegged to Oct 2007. The height of the highest boom in history. Values are nowhere near that in 2011. But 'that's the system' which is an accounting and administrative taxation system that bears no relation to reality.